Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beginning my urban balcony garden

This year I decided to take my “green-ness” to the next level in a way that utilized this extreme southern exposure my balcony has… since installing a solar panel isn’t feasible at the moment (plus I am just renting) I decided to start an urban garden on my balcony!! Here is a pic of the plants when I brought them home after a trip with my great friend Sandi to Johansen Farms in Bolingbrook, IL.

urban garden

I bought a few pots and I have some “long planter thingies that hang from the balcony” (I have no idea what the proper term is). The fashionista in me had to get the Pink Breast Cancer Awareness gardening gloves and matching shovel trowel by Bond. I really wanted to buy the whole set but my “Gardening Trainer”, Sandi, reminded me (repeatedly) that I am on a balcony, not in a yard, so the hose and rake were not likely to be needed.

While I decided to take on some Sweet 100’s (tomatoes) most of the items are herbs. I love to cook using natural herbs so this seemed like a great place to start. I didn’t research the Sweet 100s until after I bought them and apparently they grow very tall…. up to 8 feet tall… LOL… this will be interesting! This is what they are supposed to look like once they start to grow:


The herbs I’m growing include three types of Mint: Pineapple, Chocolate and Orange… (they all smell wonderful)


Golden thyme and silver thyme…

thyme creeping lemonsilver thyme

Fernleaf dill and rosemary…

fernleaf dillrosemary-herb 

Plain parsley and large leaf basil…

plain parsleyitalian-large-leaf-basil

and lastly, strawberries and romaine lettuce (which does not look anywhere close to the photo just yet)!

strawberry plant.jpgromaine lettuce

I am so excited about this venture… I just wish the Chicago weather would cooperate. Lately its been so cold at night I’ve had to bring the plants inside so they are still in their tiny pots and I am ready to plant them! Maybe this weekend we can do that and get these things outdoors! On that note, my item of the day is another “green” (kinda) object… a bike! I have a bike my dad gave me last year but its pretty beat up and “manly” so I want a new one… something girly and kinda vintage looking… On one hand, a bike is a bike… but on the other hand… I’ve got a reputation to uphold! I’ve got two vastly different choices that are on my mind now… on the used end, I found this great vintage Sears bike at a shop on the Northside. I was going to drive up there to look at when I came home and discovered that someone had hit my car while I was at work and left a nice dent in it. So the bike purchase has been put on hold for now…

raleigh cruiser bike

While I love that bike, I’ve heard tons of stories (some good and some bad) about buying used bikes so I’ve also been looking into newer bikes. This Classic Cruiser on at would be PERFECT! Lets see how the rest of the year goes… time to go grab a few lottery tickets! LOL

trek cruiserclassicwmn_whitepink

Monday, May 4, 2009

Macy’s Sale – The Male Edition

Last week “Bobby” assigned me the personal shopping task of finding some new jeans for him. Since I helped him pick out the two pairs that he loves most, I already have any idea of the cut/style/fit he likes best:

  • Loose and long, but not baggy (he’s a tall guy with an athletic build)
  • No rips, tears, bleaching, jewels, studs, etc (LOL - understood)
  • Softer denim (he likes the broken in feel but they have to be heavy enough to stand up to his wear and tear)
  • Designer names, but budget friendly

Such an easy task for me. With the sales going on at Macy’s (including a number of 80% off racks) and the coupons for 20% off your total purchase… this was gonna be a breeze. Since he didn’t give a budget amount I just bought the top 5 pair that I thought would fit best, and figured he could try them on at home and I’d return the ones that don’t fit. JACKPOT!!!! All five pair fit PERFECTLY!

Admittedly, I cheated a little… his favorite pair of jeans are by Guess and 575 denim. Since Macy’s didn’t have 575 I focused on the Guess jeans. Because he wears a 34” inseam I tend to lean towards the basic cuts because of the longer option. Many of the premium/special styles are 32” or 33” inseam. So here’s the final listing and amazing prices… now the hard part is narrowing it down to which ones will be returned!

Guess Men’s Falcon Jean (slim fit, low rise, boot cut) in Midnight Gray (not same color at photo) Original Price: $98, Sale Price $28    **Found a pair on Ebay in a lighter shade of gray for $10! I was totally surprised that he liked the dark gray. I made him put them on with his white Nikes to show him the true effect.

guess falcon jean pocket 050309

Seven for All Mankind Relaxed fit in Los Feliz Wash. Original Price $189, Sale Price $103 **These are so soft and broken in, they were definitely his favorites of the bunch before I even told him they were Seven.

seven relaxed fit lfz

Guess Dean Relaxed Fit (easy fit, regular rise, straight leg) in Detroit Wash. Original Price $79, Sale Price $63    **Currently on sale at Macys for $58. A great basic jean that has a soft feel to it.

guess dean fit in detroit wash 050309

Guess Rebel fit (regular fit, low rise, straight leg) in World Wash Original Price $108, Sale Price $31 **I really like the pockets on these but the denim isn’t as naturally broken in as the others. His favorite Guess jeans are Rebel fit and they wear-in very well with time.

guess rebel jean in world wash 050309

Guess Dean Zip Fly Relaxed fit (regular rise, straight leg) in Viper Wash, Original Price $79, Sale Price $63 **By default I think these earn my “return” vote… a lot more simpler than most of the others and the color is similar to some he already has.

guess dean zip fly viper 050309

…and while I’m dedicating this blog entry to the men, I may as well give them an item of the day… vintage/limited edition/one of a kind gym shoes… found at Chicago’s own Self Conscious (located at 1021 West Lake St). I mentioned this place a year ago before I moved to Chicago, as one of my recommended shopping spots in the city. I dragged “Bobby” in there a year ago and now he can’t stay out of the place. The guys who work there are all super cool, the music feels like you’re at the club and they are open until 12AM on weekends. Yes fellas, you can swing by on your way to a bar or midnight bowling and pick up a new outfit or some shoes to match the one you have on. Admittedly, the girls and I stopped through last night while we were out wasting time in the city so I could show them the hidden gem that the men in their lives would absolutely love. (Photos taken from


Happy shopping!!!